Summary and Analysis Part 6: Chapter 1



It was a strange time for Raskolnikov: Katerina Ivanovna is dead; Dunya has visited him; Svidrigailov, who had overheard his conversation with Sonya, worries him the most. Now Razumihkin comes to accuse him of being a scoundrel for ignoring his family. He informs Rodya that his mother, Pulcheria Alexandrovna, had come to see him thinking he was sick but eventually decided he had forgotten his mother.

Razumihkin is disgusted with Rodya until he hears about Dunya's visit and that Rodya wants him to look after both Dunya and her mother: "Whatever happens to me, wherever I go, you will stay and look after them. I entrust them to you." Razumihkin also tells Rodya that Dunya received a strange letter that upset her greatly. Just before Razumihkin leaves, he tells Rodya that Porfiry, using very complicated psychological terms, explained how the painter confessed to the murder, and again Raskolnikov wonders if Porfiry is again playing the "cat and mouse" game. At this moment, Porfiry knocks at the door.


Here the fresh air motif reappears. The need for fresh air is one of the supposed reasons for Raskolnikov's illness.

With the appearance of Razumihkin, Raskolnikov makes a further dispensation for the care of his family; that is, Razumihkin will look after them, which leaves Rodya free for the actions he is about to take. The money that Marfa Petrovna left to Dunya will free them; the money that Svidrigailov is going to invest for the children and the money he is leaving Sonya frees her first of the children and sets her free to follow Rodya.

The mention of the mysterious letter that Dunya received will be clarified later as being from Svidrigailov. From thoughts of Svidrigailov, Raskolnikov is immediately confronted with Porfiry. Whereas in earlier meetings with Porfiry, Raskolnikov had been frightened and intimidated by him, now "he was scarcely afraid of him." The point is that Raskolnikov has now made contact with humanity again through his confession to Sonya, and therefore is no longer of afraid of being trapped in the "cat and mouse" game.